9.24.21 by Matty McPherson
Orb Tapes have a sixth sense when it comes to articulating the importance of the split cassette. To sum it up: they pair the right artists together. I witnessed this first hand with OT 141, a split between midwestern noise oddballs Matthew Crowe and Marsha Fisher. Crowe’s resume includes noise with Sex Funeral and video game digital zonery as Heavenly Drugs. His 20-minute side could best be abstracted as a cover letter for both those fields of knowledge. As such, the seamless presentation covers any and all ground between meditative motions that feature flute droning, alongside space computer babble, while anthropological dives into Appalachian folk wields chopped n’ screwed midi madness. It’s a pop culture samplepedia that keeps a roller coaster of ideas coming without ever dragging out the high highs!
Marsha Fisher has been continually on a tear when anything related to modular synthesizers comes in their direction. Now though, their 2021 has been quite the effort in unearthing the moments of piercingly blissful beauty in the scraps of new age monotony and degraded debris (as seen on New Ruins). Their sonic research and curiosity with tape manipulation has even been reflected and taken to its most further ends with the tape loop Collage Works 2021. On the split, “Lungs of the Earth” is (if I’m to believe) a new modular synth work that continues the ethos of their 2021 projects. For much of the piece, the longform emphasizes the low-end–it jitters without mercy. The gelatinous drone Fisher whips up is tantalizingly electric; it is as if all the electricity of our devices and inner senses were being pulled towards this frequency to extract the soul of an ancient creature. Fisher does sidestep the noise, offering an inverse interlude in the form of shimmering New Age ripples before returning for a last half full on nihilist assault. When I originally listened to it on the Fourth of July, its summation and blood-curling overdrive far outclassed any old grandstand band. Fisher’s control is piercing and varied enough to even know when to bring out the bird sounds! Ain’t no 4th of July band bringing out bird sounds now, are they?!